Gifts stolen from charity

TRENTON, N.J. - December 23, 2008 - But for one organization in Mercer County, it just got even more difficult, thanks to thieves.

"I was so sad because, I said, how come they can take those Christmas gifts that's for the kids?" said Leonor Tapia of the Ecuadorian Civic Association.

Thieves came Tapia's Adelaide St. home in Trenton in broad daylight Monday afternoon and, after entering through a front window, made off with as many as 60 Christmas gifts.

They had been collected by a group she heads called the Ecuadorian Civic Association of Mercer County and were targeted for disadvantaged kids.

"Especially with this economic problem, those kids are from families that either the father or the mother are both are without jobs," Tapia said.

Leonor says the brazen thieves made their way upstairs to a room where she had wrapped, tagged and bagged about 180 presents this past weekend. They hauled away a good chunk of them, along with some of her jewelry, her checkbook and her mortgage money.

Leonor says she knows times are tight but it's just not right to steal from her, or espeically the kids whose parents can't afford presents. She's hoping the stolen loot will at least go to other children for Christmas, and not be sold to pay for someone's drugs.

Leonor is hoping generous people will help replace the stolen presents. A party for the disadvantaged kids is set for Saturday, and she doesn't want some greedy grinch to ruin their good time.

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